The photo that launched a new royal Instagram account in April 2017
Royals on social media, eh? Even a year ago it was hit and miss and now it's a turbo charged PR machine that is taking all before it. That's seen best of all on Instagram, the photo platform that everyone wants to be part of right now. In the last twelve months, the Danish, Norwegian and Belgian ruling houses have added accounts and in April 2017, the Dutch Royal Family came on board too. Instagram is a great way of putting out the photos that royals want to be seen but what the rest of us like enough to physically like says a lot about what we all want from royalty in 2017. Here's a look back at what won hearts in April this year on the official royal social media accounts....
The Dutch Royal Family showed just how important outlet social media is now by pulling off a PR masterstroke with their Instagram. They launched it on King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday as he and his family arrived for King's Day celebrations with most of the Netherlands and plenty of Europe watching on. With an audience eager for images of the big day, it got tens of thousands of followers within hours with a figure around 75,000 as April came to an end. The most popular post was the photo of Willem-Alexander, Maxima and their daughters arriving in Tilburg by train which won 30,000 likes and counting in those last days of April. Second on the liked list was the father/daughter portrait of a king and his heir shared as King's Day progressed. This photo of Willem-Alexander and Catharina-Amalia took 17,000 likes in April. The newest royal Instagram account in Europe is knocking out all around it.
Away from the excitement of a new account, Instagram royal style settled into a familiar pattern with birthdays and babies winning hearts all round. Sweden's current youngest royal baby, Prince Alexander, topped their likes list in April with 28,500 hearts and counting for his birthday portrait, taken by dad. This image shows another way that social media is changing royal images. Previously, birthday portraits came in press releases and once that was out, you'd had your lot. In recent times, official snaps have been shared the traditional way but, as in Alexander's case, an extra photo or two has been added to social media accounts a few hours later. It's a good move. Everyone gets extra, often less formal photos of the royal baby/ toddler etc while the royal house gets to share more happy news across a longer time frame. Everyone is, quite literally, a winner.
Another royal child who was a big hit on social media in April was Princess Eleonore of Belgium who gave her dad a violin concert as a birthday present and won lots of fans all round. The (rather blurry but still charming) photo of Eleonore in action was the most liked image on the Belgian Instagram account with 481 likes. The whole mini concert (we're talking less than a minute here) was a social media success with the original film of it shared on Twitter and added to Facebook allowing us all to see King Philippe come over all proud father as he cuddled his youngest daughter at the end of it. It meant that an event which might otherwise just get ticked off on the calendar turned into an event in its own right and one that all of us loved.
April is a bit of a birthday bonanza month for the royals and it provided three other Instagram accounts with their most liked photos of the month. The Queen's 91st birthday (21st April, in case you missed it, like that was possible) saw the official Royal Family account post an archive image of a young Elizabeth practising her royal wave. There is absolutely nothing not to love about this picture from the determined young face to the fact that this is a photo of a princess who went on to be a record breaking queen. It got 35,000 likes and no wonder. This is where the 21st century meets a world shaped by the Edwardians. It's a modern wonder.
Europe's other queen regnant, Margrethe II of Denmark, also celebrated her birthday in April providing Denmark's royal Instagram account with its best liked image of the month. The photo of Margrethe, shared on April 15th as she turned 77, won 13, 100 likes by the end of the month but it's an intriguing case. Because this isn't a new photo. In fact, it's a really well used archive image of Margrethe that anyone who's ever visited any of the Danish Royal Family's web presence will know like the back of their hand. It underlines that while Instagram is about image, it's also about sentiment. People wanted to wish their queen well on her big day. Old photo or not, there was a personal reason for adding a heart to this photo of Margrethe.
That perhaps also explains why Kensington Palace's most liked photo of April was another well used archive shot. In a month when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry achieved so much for Heads Together, with Harry in particular winning high praise for his honest interview in which he explained why he had found counselling so helpful, you kind of expected the top picture on the most followed official royal Instagram account to be linked to that. Instead, what won the highest heart tally on the Kensington Palace account was a photo of William and Kate's wedding, posted on their 6th wedding anniversary, April 29th. It's a great image and this royal wedding anniversary is a bit of a modern media event. Kate (and William) always work well on Instagram and add in the royal romance of their wedding and you're bound to get hearts.
Clarence House can struggle to keep up with its royal cousins on the likes front. This month is a case in point. It had a really busy month on Instagram, sharing plenty of images of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their tour of Italy and Austria but what got everyone excited was an old picture of Prince Charles as a youngster with his mum. It took 11.2k likes by the end of the month - a strong total for Clarence House which averages around 2-3,000 likes per photo.
Hans Majestet Kongen har sendt følgende kondolansebudskap til Tillfällig Riksföreståndare, Hennes Kongelige Høyhet Kronprinsesse Victoria. Deres Kongelige Høyhet! Jeg har med stor sorg mottatt nyheten om det grufulle angrepet i Stockholm i ettermiddag, som resulterte i flere drepte og skadde. Nok en gang blir vi brutalt minnet om viktigheten av å verne om våre sentrale demokratiske verdier. På vegne av meg selv, Kongefamilien og det norske folk, sender jeg min dypeste kondolanse, og jeg ber Deres Kongelige Høyhet om å overbringe min medfølelse til de etterlatte og pårørende, og til hele det svenske folk. Harald R
But sometimes, what makes someone interact with social media can have a much wider meaning. The Norwegian Royal House's Instagram account underlined that in April. It shared King Harald's message of condolence to the people of Sweden following the Stockholm attack which killed five people. That post was appreciated by over 2,000 people. Social media can often be berated but in this instance it allowed many to show their support, solidarity and sympathy following a shocking event. Royalty has often been a focal point in times of sadness and the strong following this post got shows that remains the same. Royal social media is, in many ways, a continuation of all that is gone before.